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Poole Harbour : Alternative Proposal

Poole Harbour Buildings, southern England, UK: Dorset property design by ADAM Architecture

5 Oct 2011

ADAM Urbanism draws up alternative design to stop inappropriate waterfront development in Poole

Design: ADAM Architecture

Poole Harbour property by Robert Adam Architect
pictures from ADAM Architecture

Poole Harbour

ADAM Urbanism has stepped in with an alternative proposal to try and overturn a new development in the south-coast town of Poole. The Council is due to decide on a controversial re-development on the quay next to the old town, submitted by developer Neptune Consultants with HKR Architects.

HKR Architects, who say that “our buildings take inspiration from their surroundings”, have prepared a highly contemporary design for the whole of the 2 hectare (5 acre) waterfront site, which includes a 13 storey tower block. The designs, supported by Design-Council CABE, have met with strong local protest and so far 800 objections.

Poole Harbour buildings by ADAM Architecture

ADAM Urbanism has illustrated a different approach to show that it is possible to have a design that fits with the character of the old town. The ADAM Urbanism illustrations show the waterfront site designed as a master plan rather than a single-firm scheme. It has varying building heights, different roof lines and a mixture of styles. The floor area of the design is approximately the same and could provide the developer with the same number of residential and commercial units, without a tower block.

Robert Adam, who was brought up in Poole said: “When I was a student living in Poole in the 1960s I watched much of the precious character of one of the most attractive and important southern seaports destroyed with bad planning and disastrous traffic engineering. I watched with dismay when I became an architect and urban designer as my home town continued to destroy much of its value and interest with poor quality and inappropriate development.”

Poole Harbour buildings by Robert Adam Architect

Robert Adam continued, “When I saw the West Quay proposal I could stay silent no longer. Do we never learn from past mistakes? Do visitors come to Poole to see run-of-the-mill contemporary design? The decision-makers of Poole are put in a difficult position, faced with a yes-or-no choice and the support of CABE – a remote committee who care more about professional solidarity than a place most of them will never visit. I decided to use the resources and expertise of my firm to show the people of Poole that there is choice.”

Bill Constance, Chairman of the Poole Old Town Conservation Group, who are opposing the designs and making last minute appeals, welcomed the unsolicited ADAM Urbanism intervention and said “Poole desperately needs a good, well designed, attractive and sustainable development on this major regeneration site, which is adjacent to the historic Old Town and Quay. This current application is totally inappropriate.”

The application does not comply with the council’s current planning policies that stipulate that new developments should respect the setting and character of surrounding area with their massing, height and appearance. The Vision for Poole group are hoping that the intervention of ADAM Urbanism will show that another approach is possible and can provide a far more appropriate development which will enhance the Quay and set the standards needed for the future of this important area.

Poole Harbour Buildings images / information from ADAM Architecture

ADAM Architecture

HKR Architects

Location: Poole Harbour, Dorset, southern England, UK

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